826LA is excited to turn over keys to the Writers Guild Theater and see Judd Apatow and his buddies take the spotlight this Friday night for Los Angeles' students. Judd, who's had his hand in just about every American hit comedy over the past five years (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), is bringing his friend Aziz Ansari back from the 2010 MTV Movie Awards and doing a live performance to benefit cost-free writing publishing and writing education services. 826LA's work with Judd directly benefits thousands and thousands of people in the LA Unified School District.
Lindsey Buckingham will be doing a musical set: he's been the guitarist and a singer in Fleetwood Mac for years (and he's put out five solo albums and a live album, too). It's pretty amazing to see such sophisticated, Grammy-winning musical talent from a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee at a one-night event for an educational cause.
Emmy Award-winner Gary Shandling, who's been doing stand-up for decades and writing comedy for TV since the 1970s, is bringing a "classic funny" vibe to the show. He's been involved in everything from his own show in 1990 to Comic Relief benefits to Iron Man 2 this year.
Finally, Randy Newman was announced earlier this month as a headliner. At a really LA-centric event, that benefits 826LA's work as a local volunteer organization with 1,500 volunteers in our city, there's nobody who could be more qualified to bring a magical sheen to things. An LA native, he's also been performing for decades and has won more awards than anyone can count.
So what's the reason for all this spectacle? 826LA, of course: part of the family of non-profits started by educator Ninive Calegari and author Dave Eggers, who's also going to be taking the stage at the event to promote a new humor book featuring contributions by everyone from David Sedaris to Jon Stewart. The 826 program model is hard at work in Los Angeles, where 826LA does everything from class field trips making books about a hat and a shoe road-tripping to "Clothes Vegas" to collaborative work with partners like El Centro Del Pueblo, MLA Partner Schools, and the Venice Community Housing Corporation.
If you attend the event (which you can get full information about here), you're going to be treated to a chance to learn more about what 826LA does. There are tons of upcoming workshops where students produce everything from YouTube videos to pageant plays to college application essays for 200 high school students. Is all this hilariously fun or seriously awesome? We'll let you judge.
By Danny Hom, who works at 826LA. Find out what the program does by visiting 826LA's website site: www.826LA.org.